By late next year, Santa Clarita mothers and newborn babies in need of extra care will no longer face the daunting possibility of separation.
After delivering babies for nearly 35 years, the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital will finally get a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Located in the former intensive care unit (recently moved to a larger location), the 4,000 square foot NICU will contain 11 beds and state-of-the-art monitoring systems.
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Hospital doctors, nurses and officials filled the room on Tuesday for a “wall-busting” celebration, with several of them gleefully taking sledgehammers to a small partition at the entrance.
“We have to behave ourselves,” said John Schleif, the hospital’s chief operating officer. “For several years we wanted to have one.”
The $6 million NICU is just one of many improvements at Henry Mayo, including a catheterization laboratory, an additional operating room, an expanded emergency room and new ICU.
Since the hospital’s opening in 1975, babies in need of special attention born at Henry Mayo have been routinely transported to Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys.
“It’s a pleasure to deliver dreams,” said Roger Seaver, Henry Mayo President and CEO. “The sadness that’s occurred when a baby is transferred out of the hospital and the mother’s care is a story we’ve heard time and time again.”
Kim and Steven Ullman, whose granddaughter was transferred out following her birth, related the emotional disconnect.
“We experienced first-hand the separation of the child from the mother,” said Steven Ullman. “We really took this hospital for granted. I don’t do that anymore.”
The Ullmans have donated $1.5 million to the NICU, which will be named after them.